NU EOP addresses material spills, derailments

Plan reviewed annually, training on situation

NEW ULM — The rash of train derailments in the U.S., including the one near Raymond early Thursday morning, has people living near railroads what would happen if a train goes off the tracks in their town.

The City of New Ulm Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) addresses hazardous material spills and derailments, according to New Ulm Chief of Police and Emergency Management Director David L. Borchert.

“We review this plan annually and train on the general situation,” Borchert said. “In case of a derailment, our EOP assigns the New Ulm Fire Department with primary responsibility for responding to hazardous materials. Essentially, the State of Minnesota has ultimate responsibility and will be contacted via the State Duty Officer.”

Borchert said police and other first responders will immediately try to access affected areas and try to identify the type of hazardous material and determine evacuation urgency concerning the affected geographical area.

A CAT (Crisis Assessment Team) will likely be deployed to deal with the actual substance. Police will continue to assist the fire department and other responding agencies that have assigned/delegated responsibility for the scene.

“All our agencies work well together at the local, state and federal level,” said Borchert. “I certainly hope a situation like this never happens; however, we do train on this and are very well prepared for a situation like this.”

According to the EOP, police and ambulance personnel do not enter an area until instructed by the fire department that it is safe to do so.

A list of emergency equipment and facilities owned by public agencies and available for use in response to a hazardous materials accident is located in the City of New Ulm Resource Manual.

A description of the evacuation procedures to be used for the protection of the public in the event of a hazardous materials release is contained in Chapter 9 — Evacuation and Traffic Control of the EOP.

In the event of a hazardous materials incident beyond the capabilities of municipal, county and state government, the national Regional Response Team may be requested through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).


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